ACC Network Will Be Based Out Of Bristol Instead Of Charlotte As Widely Thought
It was thought when ACC Commissioner John Swofford last year announced plans to launch an ACC Network by ’19 that the ESPN-owned channel would operate out of Charlotte and share its headquarters with SEC Network, which has been based in Charlotte since its launch in '14. ESPN has invested significantly into its studios and office space for ESPN Events in the city, about 100 miles south of the ACC's Greensboro HQ. However, ESPN told network staff today that ACC Network’s primary studio home will be on its Bristol, Conn., campus, where it built a 194,000-square foot studio three years ago for more than $100M for shows like “SportsCenter” and ESPN’s NFL studio programming. “Some had the sense that Charlotte was a natural, but, really, both locations are within our footprint,” Swofford said, referring to the conference’s northeastern schools of Boston College, Pitt and Syracuse. “ESPN has been looking at different scenarios since before we announced that we are moving forward with the ACC Network. We ended up in a really good place.” ESPN will keep its presence in Charlotte -- in fact, some ACC Network senior leadership, like Senior VP/College Networks Programming Rosalyn Durant, will remain there. Charlotte staff will continue to produce studio programming for SEC Network, which is not moving. In certain cases, ESPN’s Charlotte studio will conduct some coach and player interviews for ACC Network, but its studio production and operations will be housed in Bristol. Similar to the SEC Network, each ACC school will have its own studio space on campus.
IMPORTANCE OF LOCATION DECREASING: ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Scheduling Burke Magnus said, “In today’s world of video communication and technology, physical location is becoming less important every day. This was a circumstance born out of having the most resources at our disposal in Bristol to deliver on our plan for the ACC Network.” The ACC’s new network is expected to launch in ’19 and already has carriage deals in place with some digital video providers. Swofford said his optimism about the channel grows every day. “We’re where we thought we’d be, if not ahead of schedule,” he said. “The production facilities on campuses are going well, and we continue to be very excited about it.”